Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 10/17/2017

Fishing is excellent in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park now. We have had a couple of shots of rain the last week and a half which has helped keep the streams flowing strong for this time of year. The cool overnight temperatures will get the brown and brook trout seriously thinking about spawning. Please be careful this time of year and avoid walking on fine sand and gravel in riffles and tailouts. Leave the spawning trout alone so they can do their thing. When you find brook or brown trout that aren't spawning, they are aggressive and looking to feed. Recent guide trips on brook trout waters have been anywhere from good to excellent. Streams with rainbows and browns have been excellent as well. There are good numbers of fish to be caught in the Park right now!

A variety of bugs have been hatching lately. On cloudy days, Blue-winged Olives have hatched along with some other small mayflies. Various caddis, including the Great Autumn Brown Sedges (often referred to as October Caddis by locals) are hatching and provide a nice bite for the trout. Little Black stoneflies are hatching as well. Fish are eating both dry fly and nymph imitations and even still hitting some terrestrials. Don't forget your beetle, ant, and inchworm fly box. A Parachute Adams or Yellow or Orange Stimulator should work well for a dry fly. Smaller bead head Pheasant Tail nymphs should work as a dropper. Caddis pupa are also catching a lot of fish as are stonefly nymphs.

On the Caney Fork, things have been tough lately. The river has been running warmer than is normal this time of year because of heavy generation earlier this year and also with a stain due to the sluice gate operations. Work has been underway to install vented turbines on the generators and they have been working to try and tweak them to improve dissolved oxygen. One day, we were floating and they were checking the DO and found it at 1.5 ppm. If I remember correctly, the minimum target is 6 ppm. Obviously 1.5 is way too low. Trout were sitting along the banks and in back eddies gasping for oxygen. Hopefully all of this won't have too much of a long term effect on the fishery, but needless to say, things are a bit difficult as of right now. Cooler weather should help. Once the lake turns over, oxygen and clarity will improve quickly.

The Clinch River has been fishing well if you can hit it on low water days. Small nymphs and midges will get the job done here.

Smallmouth bass are about done for the year, but we will be back out on the musky streams again soon looking for the toothy critters. This is tough fishing, but the rewards can be sizable.

Photo of the Month: Night Time Hog

Photo of the Month: Night Time Hog

Monday, July 29, 2013

Lightning Over South Park

When my buddy Joe McGroom made plans to come out and visit for a fishing trip, I knew we would have great fishing because that is a given every time we get together.  What I didn't know about was the great bonus photography session I would be blessed with.  These pictures are looking out across Eleven Mile Canyon Reservoir from our campsite in Eleven Mile State Park.  At this point, I still did not know how epic the fishing was going to be the next day but the lightning made the whole trip worth it even if the amazing fishing did not happen.

We initially spotted the storm from a distance while putting in our first two hours on the water.  The fishing was mediocre although Joe did manage one really nice 17 inch brown.  


Eventually we noticed the storm looming off to the east was actually building back in our direction.  Our conversation turned to whether or not camp would be spared from the storm.  Both of us were tired, especially Joe since he had woke up at 3:00 that morning to make it to the airport on time and had travelled west 2 time zones.  The last thing we wanted was a big storm to ruin supper.  

Thankfully, the storm moved to within 5 or 6 miles of camp and then just sat still, allowing for perfect photo opportunities.  The trip was off to a great start with a full day of fishing a short night's rest away...







Saturday, July 27, 2013

Black Canyon

This past week turned out a bit differently than planned but the Black Canyon of the Gunnison was still on my list of places to visit.  In fact, I spent three nights camping down at East Portal.  The water was unusually off-colored and the fishing at East Portal was not the best I've had for sure.  For the second time, I hiked one of the inner canyon routes.  The last time I hiked the inner canyon I did the popular Gunnison route.  This time it was the Warner route which has nearly another 1,000 feet of elevation loss.  My legs are still feeling it, and I'm still processing pictures from the trip.  

Also while in the area, I fished the Uncompahgre River tailwater at Ridgeway and found some really nice fish.  Much more to come on this trip as well as the great time I had with my friend Joe last weekend.  I've caught more big trout in the last week than I have caught in Colorado since moving here so I promise there will be some pictures of large fish!!!  

Here is a shot from the bottom of the canyon while fishing via the Warner route access.  Pictures do not do the canyon justice.  Those cliffs are massive!!!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Teaching Never Stops

As a teacher, having my summers relatively free is a nice bonus.  This does not mean I stop teaching though.  A couple of weekends ago, I went camping with a group of friends near Gunnison.  Fishing was a definite must and one of my friends had been wanting to learn the sport as well.  I told him that I would be glad to teach him so extra rods were packed and the dry fly box was well-stocked in anticipation of finding some brookies.  

The stream was a small one, out of the way, meandering through the willows and over beaver dams.  Some sections were considerably steeper with tight pocket water while others took on the meadow stream nature that I've come to love.  Both brown and brook trout inhabit this stream.  I tied on a streamer to look for the big guys while my buddy John started off with a yellow Neversink Caddis, size 16.  

Since the stream was so small, I knew he would not have to cast very far to catch something.  I gave a short informal lecture on the theory behind fly casting, showed him what he should be doing, then handed him the rod.  His first two casts were slightly errant, but after another quick tip he was throwing the fly right where it needed to go.  A little more advice on what to do when a fish hit, and we started fishing.  


I was catching a few fish here and there when I found a nice open section just above a beaver dam.  The casting area was definitely not as tight and there were fish waiting for a snack as well!  From up above on the trail, I showed John were to fish and how to approach the pool.  Soon he had snuck into position and laid out a nice cast.  A brookie came up to annihilate the dry and the battle was on.  John fought and landed that fish just like a seasoned pro and soon was posing for a picture of his first trout on the fly rod!  


Not to be outdone, I fished my way around some undercut banks and close to log jams hoping for a big brown.  One 14 incher (a really nice fish for this stream) came out but would not commit while my heart nearly burst from the suspense.  Later, I found a willing brown trout in a larger than average run.  A quick picture and I sent it on its way.  


John continued to do well and ended up catching several fish.  His smile showed that he was enjoying this new sport.  I was happy to be back on the water in Colorado after a month away from home and also happy that I still had a few weeks before school started again.  Teaching fly fishing is a lot different from teaching math, but only because it is outside instead of indoors.  There's nothing like being out in nature!!!


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sporadic

Sporadic posts will continue, and as I'm enjoying my summer break I won't apologize too much.  I'm not a very good liar so making excuses will only go so far, and quite frankly I just haven't had the time.  The next two or three weeks will contain a lot more fishing however so I should have some good material for posts.

Also, the famed Trout Mobile has finally been retired. Okay, now that I hear your collective gasps from around the globe, I'm glad we have that little news item out of the way.  Having owned it for 10 years, I was a bit sad to see it go but the time had definitely come for some new wheels.  The old car took me many places that a stock jeep would have been scared to go (almost anyway).  At least in the short term, the new ride will be treated with utmost respect, unlike the old Trout Mobile as seen below overlooking the junction between the Gunnison and the North Fork of the Gunnison...


Tomorrow, I'm taking the new Trout Seeker on its maiden fishing trip.  Details to follow...

The Border

The drive to Denver via I-80 and I-76 is thankfully a bit more interesting than the I-70 route through Kansas.  Following the South Platte River always brings out the amateur history buff in me.  I think of the covered wagons headed west on the Oregon Trail or the first Transcontinental Railroad being built up this river valley.  The disheartening part of the trip is when you drive across the border into Colorado.  Looking north into Nebraska, you can see the lush river bottoms...


Looking south into Colorado, you see the part of the state that accounts for about half of the total area.  Not many people are thinking of this when they think of Colorado...


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